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Make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to request information held by public authorities, unless there are good reasons to keep it confidential.

It aims to make public sector bodies more accountable and transparent and helps people to better understand how we carry out our duties, why we make the decisions we do and how we spend public money.

How to make a request

Before making a request see the open data datasets already available first as these may provide the answers without the need to submit a request online form. If you cannot find the information you are looking for  you can make a request for any recorded information held by us by using the request form below.

Alternatively you can put your request in writing via email to [email protected] or by post.

For information requests to be valid they must:

  • be made in writing (typically letter, email or online form)
  • include contact details (full name and contact address or email)
  • describe the information being requested in enough detail to allow it to be located
  • be specific enough to allow the response to be made within the Appropriate Limit and Fees Regulations (18 hours of officer time to collate, prepare and respond)

However, requesters do not have to mention the Act or direct their request to a designated member of staff.

West Northamptonshire Council is a newly established organisation combining the previous district and borough councils of Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire along with Northamptonshire County Council.

If your request relates to a prior district/borough council service please indicate which geographic area your request relates to in order to help us respond promptly with the relevant information. If you do not state either the geographic area or West Northamptonshire as a whole we reserve the right to clarify this before proceeding with your enquiry.

You should then expect to receive a response within 20 working days. Only in exceptional circumstances will a request be extended and then only because of complex exemption considerations or deliberations.

When we can refuse a request

There are a number of exemptions which allow us to refuse to provide certain information.

Examples of these are:

  • to protect personal data or commercial interest
  • to prevent causing harm or distress to an individual or other party
  • where the information is already accessible to you elsewhere

Some requests may also exceed the cost limit of £450 (18 hours of officer time), in which case we would contact you to assist you in streamlining your request.

When we do not release the information we will always explain the reasoning and explain our internal review process and your right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Last updated 19 December 2023